Schenectady County

SCCC housing project might expand

Strong student interest in housing as part of Schenectady County Community College is prompting cons
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Strong student interest in housing as part of Schenectady County Community College is prompting consideration of a larger project than originally envisioned, one that could have about 300 beds.

The original idea, already delayed at least until 2009, was for 215 beds, officials have stated.

Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen, also on the college Board of Trustees, said “the project is definitely moving forward and there is talk of going upwards of 300 [beds].”

The college in October had approved building a dormitory off South Church Street. Work on the $12 million project was supposed to have started in December and be completed in August. However, in January college officials announced that the project would not be ready.

Gillen said discussions continue between the college, its nonprofit foundation, which would technically own the dorm, developers Columbia Development and BBL Construction, and United Campus Housing, the group that will manage the housing. College officials are now targeting August 2009 for a completed project.

They are still looking at the general area off South Church Street, but Gillen said he could not comment on specific sites.

“If it goes bigger, we’ve got to look at additional parking, additional sites,” he said.

A larger project would likely increase the cost to more than $20 million, Gillen said. The goal is to determine a direction for the project in the next couple of months.

Joe Stellato of the Columbia Development Group said he could not discuss the issues that made the original plan to build by August infeasible. “Things just got too late,” he said.

He remained optimistic about the project. “It’s going to be a real asset to the college and the city.”

College spokesman Heather Meaney said about 1,000 responded to a housing survey sent to all 2,000 full-time students. Of those who responded, there were 401 students who indicated interest in the housing.

“We’ve seen that we have enough interest and demand from students to fill something bigger,” he said.

The nonprofit foundation — not the college itself — would own the building because of state law prohibiting community colleges from owning housing.

Vladia C. Boniewski, executive director of the foundation, could not be reached for comment on Thursday. She said previously the project would likely be financed by student housing fees.

College officials hope the housing would attract students from outside the immediate area for its specialty programs including music, culinary arts and aviation science, as well as international students. County officials were also hoping to create an anchor in that section of the city.

Categories: Schenectady County

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